Ted Lilly Rumors
Despite their rotation surplus, Ned Colletti and the Dodgers are "in no rush" to trade a starting pitcher, MLB.com's Ken Gurnick reports. Zack Greinke and Chad Billingsley are dealing with minor injuries, and Ted Lilly is coming back from shoulder surgery. Even if all the Dodgers' starting pitchers are healthy, one scenario might be for Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Capuano and Aaron Harang to begin the season in the bullpen.
Previous reports have indicated that other teams may be trying to force the Dodgers into a tough spot by lowballing them on trade offers until the need to set their 25-man roster forces L.A. to make a decision about how to handle its eight starting pitchers. If one of their starters isn't healthy or if the Dodgers are willing to use several of their starters in relief, that negotiation tactic might not work. Forcing a number of starters to the bullpen, though, would simply move the logjam from one part of the team to another, where it might affect pitchers like Matt Guerrier and a number of younger relievers. Here are more notes from the Dodgers.
- The Dodgers may eat the remaining $8MM on Juan Uribe's contract, Steve Dilbeck of the Los Angeles Times reports, but Uribe is trying to recast himself as a utilityman who can also back up Adrian Gonzalez at first base. Uribe's three-year, $21MM contract, signed after the 2010 season, almost immediately proved to be a poor investment, as Uribe hit .204/264/.293 in the first year of the deal, then .191/.258/.284 in 2012.
- Dodgers manager Don Mattingly says his team should consider letting him go if the team does not make the playoffs, Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. "If we can't get them to play the game right, they may have the wrong voice. There's a ton of talent here," Mattingly says. Mattingly is not under contract for 2014, and Shaikin reports that Mattingly does not expect to receive a contract extension before the season starts.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes that some league executives feel that the new-and-improved PED testing will have a drastic effect on the power numbers of players. That feeling has given some owners pause about committing long-term deals until they know how it will all play out. “We’re all anxious to see what the result of the testing will be, but we’re anticipating that it will have a significant effect on the numbers, which will impact the game in general,” said an American League owner. “I think a few owners feel the way we do, that we’re going to see noticeable physical changes in players and their stamina in getting through a 162-game schedule.” Here's more from Cafardo..
- The Yankees have explored temporary options to fill-in for the injured Mark Teixeira but they have also looked into more significant moves. The Bombers have inquired on the Padres' Chase Headley, though we learned recently that he's not available at this time. However, Headley could be on the market this summer.
- If shortstop Jose Iglesias continues to hit in spring training, Cafardo wonders if the Red Sox might be open to dealing Stephen Drew down the line. The Cardinals pursued Drew this offseason and they are looking for help with Rafael Furcal sidelined. Drew cannot be traded until June 15 without his approval.
- Teams have a number of reasons why they say they are not interested in Kyle Lohse, but Cafardo isn't buying any of them. He feels that some team will happily give him a one-year, $10MM contract. He would be a great fit in tfhe National League and Cafardo suggests the Brewers as a good fit.
- There is more interest in Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly than fellow surplus starters Aaron Harang and Chris Capuano. The Dodgers are holding on to all of them until they know that Chad Billingsley is fully recovered after undergoing treatments to his elbow this offseason.
- A National League scout suggested that Phillies outfielder John Mayberry might be a good fit for the Yankees at first base, with a switch back to the outfield after Teixeira returns. Mayberry is a former first baseman and was used there last season when Ryan Howard was out of action.
Jack Zduriencik is still the right person to serve as the Mariners' GM, Jerry Brewer of the Seattle Times contends. Brewer points to a strong farm system (which includes the likes of Taijuan Walker, Mike Zunino, Danny Hultzen and James Paxton) as evidence that Zduriencik's plan is working. The Mariners have only had one winning season since Zduriencik was hired, however. "I can't say that I'm happy, can't say that I'm satisfied at all," Zduriencik said. "Because, at the end, it's about the finished product at the big-league level and all of these kids becoming what you want them to become." The M's finished 75-87 in 2012. Here are more notes from around the majors.
- The Red Sox clubhouse feels "eleventy-billion times better" than it did in 2012, writes John Tomase of the Boston Herald. The team's decision to replace Bobby Valentine with John Farrell is part of that, Tomase argues, but so is the fact that new additions Ryan Dempster, Shane Victorino, Mike Napoli, Joel Hanrahan, David Ross, Jonny Gomes and Stephen Drew weren't around during the Red Sox's ugly 2012 season.
- Napoli will be an impact hitter for the Red Sox in 2013 because he will no longer catch, Michael Silverman argues, also in the Boston Herald. "Now there’s more of a flow to everything," Napoli says. "It’s a tough position — catching and good-hitting catchers are tough to find. It’s just a grind — a grind that I do miss, but I don’t miss." Napoli caught in 72 games for the Rangers last year, but the Red Sox signed him to an incentive-laden one-year deal for 2013 with the plan that he would play first base, where, Silverman writes, he has looked "nimble and sure-handed" this spring.
- The Dodgers "do not appear close" to trading one of their starting pitchers, writes Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. Since the Dodgers cannot ship Aaron Harang, Chris Capuano or Ted Lilly to the minors without those players' consent, teams may simply wait for the Dodgers, who don't have roster space for all their starting pitching, to become more desperate. The Orioles, Brewers and Pirates "have expressed interest" in the Dodgers' surplus arms, Shaikin notes, but the Rangers are not a likely trade partner.
This is a running list of players who have cleared waivers, based on published reports. Once a player clears waivers, he can be traded to any team (barring a no-trade clause). This list can always be found in the sidebar under MLBTR Features. Player names are linked to the source articles.
Updated 8-30-11 at 10:56pm
- Aaron Harang, Padres - Harang's ERA is a respectable 3.92 with 6.7 K/9 and 3.3 BB/9 in pitcher-friendly Petco Park.
- Dontrelle Willis, Reds - Willis has bounced back with the Reds, posting a 4.10 ERA, 6.3 K/9, 3.8 BB/9, 0.68 HR/9, and 56.8% groundball rate in 52 2/3 innings.
- Carlos Zambrano, Cubs - Zambrano cleared waivers prior to being placed on the disqualified list. He has a short fuse, lousy stats, and over $22MM remaining on his contract through next year.
- Rodrigo Lopez, Cubs - Not surprising to see the journeyman clear waivers.
- Chris Capuano, Mets - Capuano owns a 3.74 SIERA as of August 14th and earns only $1.5MM plus incentives, so it's hard to see why a few teams didn't place claims.
- Bronson Arroyo, Reds - His peripheral stats haven't changed much, but Arroyo has a 5.31 ERA as of August 15th. $15MM of his $35MM contract is deferred through 2021 without interest. The deferrals are voided if he's traded, however. At any rate, expect Arroyo to stay put.
- Bruce Chen, Royals - Chen has his moments, but it's not surprising to see him clear waivers.
- Jason Vargas, Mariners - Like many of the starters here, Vargas' fastball wouldn't break a window. But he has less than a million bucks left on his contract this year and is under team control through 2013. He'd fit nicely at the back end of several rotations.
- Chien-Ming Wang, Nationals - His three starts this season were his first in over two years, so it's understandable that contenders wouldn't jump to claim him.
- Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals - Booted to the bullpen last month, the 29-year-old flyballing southpaw has posted strong strikeout rates in recent years but can't hold a rotation job.
- Ted Lilly, Dodgers - He always has strong strikeout-to-walk numbers, but is prone to the longball. With over 82% of his $33MM contract remaining ($27MM+), it's no surprise he cleared waivers.
- Joe Nathan, Twins - Nathan won't be traded, according to Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.
- Chad Qualls, Padres - Qualls is enjoying a bounce-back season, though his strikeout rate dipped to 5.3 K/9 this year.
- Bill Bray, Reds - Bray has been decent this year, and a little tougher against lefties. He'll be arbitration eligible for the second time this offseason.
- Hong-Chih Kuo, Dodgers - A dominant reliever last year, Kuo has dealt with a back injury and anxiety disorder as his control has eluded him.
- Huston Street, Rockies - Between a recent triceps injury and the $9MM+ owed to him through 2012, Street was expected to clear.
- Brian Fuentes, Athletics - He's owed over $6MM through next year, and has been mediocre for the A's.
- Jon Rauch, Blue Jays - Rauch is affordable, but he's on the DL for an appendectomy and wasn't great before that.
- Mike Gonzalez, Orioles - Gonzalez has been dominant in August, and against lefties. The problem is that he's still owed almost a million bucks.
- Kevin Gregg, Orioles - Gregg might be the worst reliever holding down a closer's job, and he's owed at least $6.4MM through next year.
- John Grabow, Cubs - He's been ineffective even against lefties, and he has over $700K remaining.
- D.J. Carrasco, Mets - The Mets signed Carrasco to a two-year deal in December - their biggest acquisition of the offseason - but optioned him to Triple-A in April. He stayed there until mid-June.
- Aramis Ramirez, Cubs - In July, Ramirez's agent said that his client would consider an August deal but he has since had a change of heart. The Cubs hold an option on Ramirez's deal worth $16MM.
- Alfonso Soriano, Cubs - This one was also obvious. SI's Jon Heyman notes on Twitter that the Cubs are willing to pay a "major, major chunk" of the $58.35MM owed to the left fielder through 2014.
- Lance Berkman, Cardinals - Berkman has said he hopes to re-sign with St. Louis after the season, when he hits free agency. Still, it's a surprise to see him clear waivers.
- Ryan Theriot, Cardinals - Theriot earns $3.3MM this year and will be a non-tender candidate after the season.
- David Wright, Mets - It's surprising that Wright cleared waivers, but it doesn't mean the Mets have interest in dealing him. Wright earns $15MM next year and can void a $16MM club option for 2013 if traded.
- Conor Jackson, Athletics - Olney notes that the Red Sox asked about the light-hitting 1B/LF/RF, but there doesn't seem to be any traction there.
- David DeJesus, Athletics - DeJesus has had a rough year but could at least be useful against right-handed pitching.
- Hideki Matsui, Athletics - The Athletics have several waiver trade candidates, and Matsui's hot second half and low salary (owed less than $2MM the rest of the season) could make him a popular target.
- Jason Bay, Mets - With Bay being owed at least $38.8MM through 2013, this was expected. It's only been 12 games, but Bay is at least having his first good month of 2011.
- Willie Harris, Mets - The versatile Harris has less than $200K left on his contract.
- Angel Pagan, Mets - It's been a dismal year for Pagan, who may be in line for a non-tender after the season.
- Carlos Lee, Astros - No surprise here, as the 35-year-old is hitting .263/.321/.417 and is owed almost $23MM through next year. El Caballo's ten-and-five rights kick in after the season.
- Johnny Damon, Rays - Damon blocked an August trade last summer and 12 months later he's a candidate to be traded once again.
Tim Dierkes contributed to this post.
The Dodgers are "open for business," according to Jon Heyman of SI.com (on Twitter). The Los Angeles front office will consider trading potentially useful veterans including Hiroki Kuroda, Jamey Carroll, Ted Lilly, Juan Uribe, Matt Guerrier and others.
Peter Gammons reported over the weekend that the Dodgers, now 42-55, are looking to shed salary. Kuroda is drawing interest and may require compensation to accept a deal, though he the Dodgers may decide to keep him. The Brewers, who are looking to acquire help on the left side of the infield, have checked in on Carroll.
The Red Sox are "not pursuing anyone aggressively right now," a source familiar with the team's thinking told WEEI's Alex Speier. Instead, the team is currently trying to determine which internal solutions will work. We've heard the Red Sox named as one of the most aggressive suitors for Carlos Beltran, but that may not be the case.
The Sox are still taking their normal approach of "inquiring about anyone who may make an appreciable difference to the team," in the words of the Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo. Cafardo says the Red Sox have inquired on Beltran, Ubaldo Jimenez, Felix Hernandez, Jose Reyes, Jeff Francoeur, Jeff Baker, Michael Cuddyer, Ty Wigginton, Hiroki Kuroda, Ted Lilly, Jeremy Guthrie, Ryan Ludwick, Josh Willingham, Conor Jackson, Ryan Spilborghs, Mike Adams, and others. The team needs include starting pitching, a reliever, an outfielder, and a shortstop, but the Red Sox may prefer internal options in many cases.
After last night's loss the Cubs are 12-16, in fifth place in the NL Central and 3.5 games back of the Cardinals. The club's OBP ranks fifth in the NL, their SLG sixth, their relief ERA eighth, and their starter ERA dead last at 6.17. The latest on the team:
- Dodgers lefty Ted Lilly was "a little puzzled" that the Cubs traded him last summer rather than try to retain him, reports Paul Sullivan of the Chicago Tribune. Lilly said he was "willing to get creative to try and stay," but talks didn't get far before the July 31st deal. The Cubs shipped out Lilly and Ryan Theriot with $5.158MM remaining on their contracts, but sent $2.5MM to the Dodgers in the deal. Lilly later inked a three-year, $33MM extension with the Dodgers.
- The Cubs also traded first baseman Derrek Lee last summer, saving $1.7MM in that deal with the Braves. Lee told the Tribune's Dave van Dyck he would have returned "under the right terms," but added that Jim Hendry wouldn't have traded him if the GM had wanted him back. Both Lee and his replacement Carlos Pena are off to slow starts this year. Talking to Sullivan, Hendry rattled off several new Cubs who struggled in their first month.
- Minor league signing Todd Wellemeyer, who is recovering from a hip injury, could be in the mix along with Doug Davis to fill in as the Cubs' fifth starter when the spot comes up on May 14th, reported Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times yesterday. Meanwhile Tom Gorzelanny spun a gem against the Giants last night, dropping his ERA to 2.93 through five starts. The Cubs have missed Andrew Cashner and Randy Wells, though both threw off a bullpen mound Monday and are "making good progress," according to MLB.com's Carrie Muskat.
- One more note on the fifth starter situation: I'm hearing it's doubtful the Cubs pursue Kevin Millwood.
- Cubs fans, MLBTR has you covered with Facebook and Twitter pages as well as an RSS feed.
Links for Wednesday, as the Yankees try to prolong their season...
- Baseball sources tell Ken Gurnick of MLB.com that the Dodgers are likely to bring Trey Hillman aboard as their bench coach.
- Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald wonders if Kerry Wood could have made a difference for the BoSox.
- Nick Piecoro of The Arizona Republic reports that the Diamondbacks are expected to name Ray Montgomery their new scouting director. Montgomery has spent the last eight years in the Brewers organization.
- Bryce Harper will bat seventh in his Arizona Fall League debut tonight, according to the Nationals Baseball Media Relations department (via Twitter).
- The A's have announced several staff changes via press release. Gerald Perry has been welcomed back as hitting coach in place of Jim Skaalen. Joel Skinner, a longtime member of the Indians coaching staff, will take over as bench coach. Former bench coach Tye Waller will be reassigned as the first base coach. Waller replaces Todd Steverson who has been offered a position in the A's farm system.
- Mark McGwire is on the fence about returning as the Cards hitting coach, Tony La Russa told Joe Strauss of the Post-Dispatch.
- Former Angels scouting director Eddie Bane will join the Tigers scouting department, according to ESPN.com's Keith Law (on Twitter).
- MLB.com's Jason Beck introduces us to Tigers assistant GM Al Avila, the longtime Detroit exec who remains a GM candidate. The Tigers recently declined to let the Mets interview Avila.
- If you play fantasy baseball, head over to RotoAuthority, where Tim Dierkes examines the impact of Ted Lilly's new deal on the lefty's fantasy value.
- It doesn't look like Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima will become available to MLB teams this year, according to reports passed along by Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker (Twitter link).
- Cubs GM Jim Hendry told MLB.com's Carrie Muskat that he will "absolutely" welcome Ryne Sandberg back to Chicago's minor league system if the Hall of Famer wants to continue working his way to the major leagues. Sandberg, a finalist for the Cubs major league job, was disappointed when the team hired Mike Quade.
- Brewers managerial candidate Pat Listach was pleased with his interview, according to MLB.com's Bill Ladson.
The Dodgers have signed Ted Lilly to a three-year, $33MM contract that was finalized today when the 34-year-old pitcher passed a physical. Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter) reports that Lilly has a full no-trade clause for the first two seasons of the deal, and the left-hander will receive a $3.5MM signing bonus to be paid out over all three years. Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com broke the news of the agreement last Saturday, and MLB.com's Ken Gurnick was the first to confirm the dollar amount (both Twitter links).
Los Angeles acquired Lilly from the Cubs at the trade deadline this summer, and watched him post a 3.52 ERA with 9.0 K/9 and 1.8 BB/9 in dozen starts (76.2 innings). He also threw his first complete game shutout since 2004 while in a Dodgers' uniform. Lilly just wrapped up the four year, $40MM contract he signed with Chicago before the 2007 season.
Lilly projected to be a Type-A free agent, so the Dodgers will be forfeiting a chance at two high draft picks with the move. Of course they would have had to offer arbitration and Lilly would have had to turn it down for that to happen, and neither of those things was a given.
Lilly was positioned to be one of the best free agent starting pitchers available, and Sports Illustrated's Jon Heyman (via Twitter) calls the signing a "bargain" for Los Angeles considering what Lilly could've earned on the open market. Apparently he preferred to sign quickly, and given how the market played out last offseason, it's hard to blame him.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post.
Links for Tuesday night, as Cliff Lee and the Rangers look to advance to the ALCS....
- A story by Yoon Chul of the Korea Times quotes Shin-Soo Choo as saying he'd like to play for a team that wins more than Indians. However, GM Chris Antonetti tells Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer that he has spoken to Choo and the outfielder "expressed his passion for winning in Cleveland."
- MLB.com's Bill Ladson fields readers' questions about whether the Nationals will pursue Lee, Ted Lilly, Javier Vazquez, and others this offseason.
- Speaking of Lee, when the Yankees really want a player, they usually get him, writes Tyler Kepner of the New York Times.
- Fangraphs' Jack Moore says that if Albert Pujols hits free agency after the 2011 season, it would be the MLB equivalent of LeBron James' summer of 2010 in terms of impact.